Steps for replacing water heater systems and identifying a failing water heater
The basics for replacing water heater tanks are simple and inexpensive if you do it yourself.
The most important thing about replacing an electric water heater is electrical safety. Electric water heaters use 240-volt circuits. These are the bad boys that deserve complete respect. Be sure to turn off the breaker and communicate to household members what you are doing.
The answer is pretty simple. If the water heater is more than 10 years old, you should probably replace it. Electric water heaters are notorious for running up really high electric bills when they are failing. Last week, I replaced my electric water heater because the hot water supply had diminished to about one-third the normal hot water supply.
Also, my electric bill was at least twice as high as normal. Failing electric water heaters have to compensate for hot water inefficiency by using more power to produce the same output as normal.
The $300 price tag of a new water heater looked pretty attractive considering my electric bills were around $200 a month higher than normal.
The decision to replace was very easy to make.
You might need new flexible copper tubing if the new tank is longer or shorter than the old one. These fittings are available where the water heaters are.
If the tester light is on, there is still current in the line and it is probably a lot of current.
If the light is off, the line is dead. That’s always a good sign before working on the wiring. Safety is key when replacing water heater tanks.
Once you are certain the electricity is off, you can take the wiring apart. The wires will be two cables usually a black and a red wire. There will usually be a copper ground wire also.
Remove the old tank and then put the new tank in place. Wrap the threads of the new tank supply nipples with teflon tape. One layer of teflon tape will prevent leaks.
Attach the cold water input line to the cold water intake nipple. This will usually have a blue color around it. Attach the water line that will service all hot water appliances to the red colored nipple.
Make sure that both connections are really tight.
Next connect the relief valve.
Once all connections are tight, you will open the water input shutoff valve to start filling the new tank. It’s import to help release the air from the tank as it fills by opening the hot valve of a few faucets around the house. This will let the air in the tank escape as the air releases from the faucets.
Once the faucets are running water in a complete stream from the hot valves, the water heater tank should be full of water.
Verify that there are no leaks around the connections after replacing-water-heater tank fixtures.
Replace the cover to the wires and turn the breaker back on. That is all you need to do when replacing-water-heater tanks by yourself.
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